FROM a profile of Marcia Clark, the Los Angelos County...

salmagundi

January 24, 1995

FROM a profile of Marcia Clark, the Los Angelos County deputy district attorney leading the prosecution in the murder trial of O.J. Simpson:

"For all the media's fawning over Simpson's 'dream team' of defense lawyers, and for all the public hostility toward Clark, she is winning. The public reception accorded Clark might well serve as a case study of what happens when a woman becomes dramatically visible in a job traditionally associated with men. On the one hand, she has been patronized: [Defense Attorney Robert] Shapiro has called her 'an attractive lady' with 'great legs.' On the other, Clark has been demonized with that adjective that somehow never attaches to a man: 'shrill.' And [Defense Attorney Johnnie] Cochran has called her 'a little hard.' Still, Clark has won every pretrial motion of any consequence. To be sure, this is due partly to the state of the law: Republican-appointed judges in California, including [Judge Lance] Ito, have made it more and more difficult for defendants to suppress evidence and gain other procedural advantages. But it is true, too, that Clark is winning because she is every bit the equal of her more celebrated and more highly paid adversaries. Considerable evidence -- a review of Clark's life and career, based on interviews with several of her friends, colleagues, and former adversaries; the trial records of her most important prior cases; and several conversations with her -- suggests that she may even be better. It appears, in fact, that the Simpson trial is shaping up as a battle of criminal-justice archetypes: the hands-on career prosecutor obsessed with vindicating the lives of crime victims against the defense lawyers willing to say and do anything within the law to see their client go free."

-- Jeffrey Toobin in the New Yorker.

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